May, 2021  FoAPP Newsletter

The NE Queens Parks Administrator, Matt Symons, will be contributing to our monthly newsletter.  His contribution to the newsletter:

Hello readers. Thanks for taking the time to be involved with Alley Pond Park and for reading this. I have a few items I wanted to mention:

We recently launched our new orienteering course (five in total, actually) in the Adventure Course area. Please have a look here for details: www.nyc.gov/parks/orienteering.  If anyone encounters any issues on the course, please email apporienteering@parks.nyc.gov to let us know. We’re very excited for park visitors to have a fun, new, low-tech way to experience the park.

We’re looking to engage in a few projects at Oakland Lake, including invasive species removal/desire line closures with FoAPP volunteers on May 16, an erosion-control project in the Fall with the Student Conservation Association, as well as a native species planting along the northeast shoreline of the lake to replace the phragmites that were removed in the area. The plantings will help prevent the emergence of new invasive species and control erosion. We’re also working with our natural resources/green infrastructure divisions to identify further runoff/erosion control options.

There’s been a lot of discussion about providing food sources to wildlife in the form of bird feeders and/or native species plantings, possibly being incorporated into a sensory garden inspired by the one recently created at Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx. It’s designed for people of different abilities to be able to experience the garden in their own way.

FoAPP has also expressed interest in embarking on a beautification project at Alley Springfield, with plantings. Just this month, we had a couple of Eagle Scout projects there, one removing invasive plants from the 73 Avenue perimeter and another painting park benches. Both projects went very well, but there’s always more to be done! More to come on this subject.

This week, we held our long-awaited groundbreaking for the Vanderbilt Long Island Motor Parkway Phase I renovation (Winchester Boulevard to Springfield Boulevard), which actually began last Fall during the pandemic. The project is on track to be completed by September. Timing for the start of Phase II (Springfield Boulevard to the western terminus at 199 Street/67 Avenue) construction is not yet established.

We are also launching an NYC Parks initiative called Litter Ambassadors, recruiting caring New Yorkers to distribute garbage bags to neighbors at Alley Pond Park’s barbecue areas and guide them in properly disposing of their trash. Ambassadors should be willing to volunteer at least four hours throughout the summer to help keep Alley Pond Park clean for everyone to enjoy! Parks will provide garbage bags and vests/buttons that identify volunteers as Litter Ambassadors. Email me at matt.symons@parks.nyc.gov for more information.

From the Chair:

We added a successful event at Oakland Lake to our 2021 activity, adding to the April Cleanup at Upper Alley Pond.  We will return there for our next event in June, to paint benches on the 12th.  Be sure to follow our Facebook page (search for foapp) and our website at www.friendsofalleypondpark.org  Thanks to all who are working to make these events successful, and thanks to our partners at NYC Parks and Partnership for Parks.

All authorized tools are supplied at our events by Parks and/or FoAPP.  Please use only these tools.  Super Stewards are given clippers and are authorized to carry their own limited kinds of tools – basically the same tools that are supplied at our events.  You are invited to take the Super Steward training when next available where tools are reviewed.  Other tools, other than what we use, are used only by Parks employees, for insurance reasons.  Thank you for understanding.

The Conservation Committee is meeting and is developing its vision in support of our mission.  As a reminder, we are organized to sustain and improve the park to benefit visitors, wildlife, and the community. We support the tradition of stewardship, history, education, recreation, and arts. We advocate for resources and best practices to ensure park safety.  Our mission is largely fixed, while our vision can change and expand: “The Friends of Alley Pond Park aspire to make the park a place of natural beauty, recreation, education, and through community involvement enhance and preserve the enjoyment of Alley Pond Park for future generations.”  The Committee has contributed leadership to our events and is organizing our Super Stewards around these, joined by the Program Committee.

The Program Committee is also meeting to further develop to its own vision, developing the ability to plan for a park-wide event in the Fall, based on a hike from one end of the Park to the other with stations along the way to promote elements of the mission.  What was APP before Robert Moses cobbled it together as a Park?  The answer is surprising!  FoAPP is supporting the Litter Ambassador program, which expands on our work last summer to keep the Park tidy while we welcome visitors to the Park, some who are regulars and some who come from neighboring communities and beyond.  You can register here:  https://forms.gle/a9NBqknpdpfABtSi7

New York City’s parks are being used more than ever before as a result of the pandemic, which often means more litter. You can help!

forms.gle

Thanks to Governance for keeping our activities focused via our bylaws.  We continue to develop, and we find now at various turns that we may well want to incorporate sooner rather than later.  Governance can guide us to make that decision, and Partnership for Parks has resources for us to use to understand the parameters.  Please consider attending the webinar on May 25th; please register before this weekend: https://cityparksfoundation.org/events/is-501c3-for-me-for-community-groups-interested-in-becoming-a-nonprofit/?date=20210525

The rewards of starting a nonprofit are enticing: tax-exempt status, expanded grant opportunities, and tax-deductible contributions. Beneath these advantages are complicated logistics and costs which often beg the question—does incorporation…

A reminder from Youth Protection – we are now permitted to have more than just a handful of volunteers as the COVID restrictions are lifted, so we are reaching out to families and youth groups who have participated in the past.  This means that we need to refocus on our own youth protection policies, per our bylaws.  We need to have a critical number of our own members trained in Youth Protection concerns to adequately ensure protections for our own participants.  Please take the free training available from Scouts BSA at: https://www.scouting.org/training/youth-protection/  Review the “How to take the Training” information.  You must register in order to take the training.  This will permit you to print a training certificate, which you will please print and mail to our Secretary, Lorraine, who will keep track of those who have completed the training.  After creating an account, you log in to take the training.  Other forms of youth protection training, say for GSA or the Roman Catholic Church, etc, are acceptable.  You can accomplish the BSA training in less than one hour.

BSA Youth Protection Mission Statement. True youth protection can be achieved only through the focused commitment of everyone in Scouting. It is the mission of Youth Protection volunteers and professionals to work within the Boy Scouts of America to maintain a culture of Youth Protection awareness and safety at the national, regional, area, council, district, and unit levels.

Outreach continues to meet and ensures our social media and website are current.  We seek to expand our membership, remaining open to all those who are interested in our Mission and Alley Pond Park.

We are reaching out to the bike riding community with the placement of two bike repair stations, at the end of the Vanderbilt Motor Parkway at Winchester Blvd, and along 73rd Ave at the park entrance where the bike trail exits the park roughly at Cloverdale Blvd.  To comment on developments for the Queens Greenway, take part in their community meeting: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/destination-greenways-queens-virtual-meeting-2-tickets-151814907475?fbclid=IwAR2NGAIFSiBs-9oXg1A_dYj2PnbDqf9hLSn7k925w13DQJUzsBda82SyvFY

Treasury and Finance are continuing to follow grant opportunities and fundraising possibilities.  Our funds already obtained are safely maintained by our fiscal sponsor, City Parks Foundations.  All donations made for FoAPP through CPF are tax deductible.  They charge a small fee per for this.

All Committees welcome those FoAPP members interested in their particular function as described in our bylaws.  All committees can make good use of any volunteers.  We are still looking for someone who wants to assist with our fundraising function within Finance and Treasury.

Future newsletters will welcome reports from individual committees intended for the general membership.  These can include additional articles that relate to the work of your committee, for instance, what is native, what is invasive or, working with Parks, or a review of Park history and programs that can further our mission.  Deadline is two weeks before our monthly meetings, that is, both the Executive Committee meetings and the quarterly (or so) general members meetings.  All contributions are subject to editing and space limitations.

Thanks to all for a successful membership year!  We have done extremely well during a trying time.  ”

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